CONTROVERSIAL plans for two blocks of flats on open space near York's Rowntree Park look set to win the go-ahead today, despite furious objections from local residents.
A report to City of York Council's area planning sub-committee says the proposals for eight affordable two-bedroom apartments behind Fenwick Street have attracted 38 objections and a petition signed by 36 people.
Many complained about the loss of valued open space and a children's play area, but also claimed the building would be too large and high, affecting the view from the park.
There were also concerns about increased pressure on parking in the area, road safety problems during construction and flood risks in the area, although one letter of support was received from someone who said they recognised the need for more affordable housing.
York Central MP Hugh Bayley also wrote to say he acknowledged the need for affordable housing but asked members to consider the height of the development in relation to adjacent properties and look at a re-design to allow part of the green to be retained as a public open space.
One resident, Nicola Thomis, 33, told The Press earlier this year that children loved to play on the open space in the summer, and the proposed 'monstrosity' would make the street feel hemmed in.
But the report to councillors by development management officer Fiona Mackay says there are few sites suitable for the development of new social housing and Fenwick Street has been identified as one such site to meet the needs of people on the housing waiting list.
Recommending councillors approve the scheme, she acknowledges the site is a valued and popular open space in the locality, but points out that Rowntree Park also provides recreational facilities and open space.
"Given the proximity to Rowntree Park with its range of facilities for formal and informal play, it is considered that the need for affordable housing would outweigh the level of harm to local amenity," she says.
"On balance, it is considered that the residential use of the site would be appropriate in this largely residential area....It is considered that the proposed residential development would be of a scale, design, and layout that would fit comfortably within its suburban surroundings."